INTRODUCTION


The media item we have chosen, “Connect With Kids: The Teenage Brain” is an educational documentary style television series targeted at caregivers and students. This episode, featuring Dr Dan Siegel, discusses the two main sensitive periods in one’s life, that is, birth to three or four years of age and ten to puberty. Case study comparisons between that of an enriched early environment and neglected adolescent environment are utilised to highlight the impact of different environments on developmental progression with reference to the biological underpinnings of these changes.

This program allows caregivers an insight into adolescent behaviour, providing explanations and suggestions as how to approach and provide support during this transitional period. It is discussed how whilst adolescents may anatomically resemble an adult, their brain development and the neural changes occurring are far different and can in part explain their behaviour in regards to rebellion and risk taking. This episode was of interest to us in respect to the strong emerging evidence and general consensus on a second sensitive period occuring in early adolescence. These topics also extend from those of neuronal plasticity and stress covered in the early modules of the course, relating these changes to different sensitive periods in development and the modulating effects of the environment on these changes. These developments have far reaching and important implications for caregivers, in therapeutic settings and social care milieu.


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